CHEMEX - Chemical Exchange Program

Program Background

Large research universities and colleges typically have thousands of different chemicals, albeit in small quantities, that are used and stored across hundreds of labs, clinics, and other support centers. A key component essential to waste minimization is an up to date chemical inventory. Labs can avoid duplicate purchases by knowing what chemicals are already on hand. Chemical purchases can also be reduced by borrowing and sharing chemicals between laboratories. Departments are encouraged to exchange chemicals. When this is not possible, lab personnel can utilize the DEHS Chemical Exchange Program (CHEMEX).

CHEMEX can provide a real cost savings for the University in two ways. First, utilizing chemicals from CHEMEX decreases the amount of new chemicals purchased. Secondly, chemicals which are exchanged do not require disposal, avoiding the extremely high cost associated with that service.

View chemicals currently available: Current CHEMEX Inventory (ulink log-in required)


Criteria for Acceptable Chemicals in CHEMEX

Only chemicals from University of Louisville labs, clinics, and other support centers can be offered for CHEMEX. Chemicals that are unopened or partially used are eligible for CHEMEX. An opened chemical container must be certified as uncontaminated by the offeror. Criteria for acceptable chemicals offered through CEHEMEX include the following:

  1. Chemical must be within its recommended shelf-life period.

  2. Chemical must be in its original container.

  3. Chemical container must be in good condition and all labels must be legible.

  4. Chemical must maintain chemical integrity at ambient room temperature. Due to limited storage capability, chemicals which require refrigeration or freezer are not accepted into CHEMEX at this time.

  5. If the chemical container has been opened, the chemical must be unadulterated. This must be certified by the offeror. A certification statement must be attached to the container.

  6. Each chemical will be reviewed prior to acceptance. DEHS may request an MSDS’s from the offeror.

  7. The person who receives the chemical is responsible to determine the suitability of the chemical for their use.

  8. DEHS reserves the right to reject any chemical which they deem to not fit the conditions set forth in line items 1 – 5.


Unacceptable Chemicals

The following items are not eligible for CHEMEX.

  1. Expired chemicals.

  2. Laboratory prepared formulations.

  3. Cylinder, lecture bottles, and dewars.

  4. Radioactive materials.

  5. DEA controlled substances.

  6. Infectious substances and select agents.

  7. Highly reactive chemicals.

  8. Chemical that requires refrigeration or freezer.

  9. Any chemical DEHS deems could pose a substantial health or safety risk (i.e. potential peroxide formers).


Submitting Chemicals for CHEMEX

If a laboratory, clinic, or other support service has chemicals that meet the acceptable criteria, the PI or authorized lab personnel can submit a request for pick up via the on-line CHEMEX form (located at the DEHS Waste disposal tab web-site under” Forms”). The on-line form will include the following information:

  1. First and last Name of offeror

  2. Campus (i.e Belknap, HSC, Shelby)

  3. Building and room number chemical(s) located.

  4. Department

  5. Phone number of offeror

  6. E-mail address of offeror

  7. Chemical name

  8. CASRN

  9. Purity Grade (Lab, Technical, Reagent, HPLC, etc)

  10. Container size and type

  11. Manufacturer

  12. Manufacturer catalog or product number

  13. Has the container been opened? Yes or No

  14. Certification statement to attest to chemical quality


DEHS Review and Approval (or Rejection)

After the on-line CHEMEX form has been submitted, DEHS anticipates seven to ten business days for review and approval for pick up from the offeror.

After review and approval of the offered chemicals, DEHS will print a CHEMEX uniquely numbered label to attach to each approved chemical. The label information will include the following information: Date of pick up, chemical name, offeror building and lab number, DOT Class, and EPSC storage location. DEHS will notify the offeror via e-mail if a chemical was deemed unacceptable for CHEMEX. DEHS will include a reason(s) for rejection.

IMPORTANT NOTE - Chemicals that are not approved for chemical exchange must be disposed through the waste disposal program.

DEHS Transportation and Storage

As discussed in the previous section, DEHS will generate a uniquely numbered CHEMEX label to attach to each approved chemical. Chemicals will be separated by DOT class. Chemicals will be over packed with sufficient absorbent to prevent accidental breakage during transport. A CHEMEX work order will be generated to serve as the shipping document. To avoid any regulatory confusion, chemicals transported for CHEMEX will be packaged and documented separately from hazardous waste chemicals.

Once received at the EPSC, chemicals for CHEMEX will be placed on a specifically marked shelf “For CHEMEX chemicals only” within each segregated chemical storage area.

Chemicals in the CHEMEX program will be stored in the EPSC for a period not to exceed 8 months. After this time, the chemical will be declared waste and disposed of through the normal university hazardous waste program.

CHEMEX Web-page

DEHS will maintain a web page of all chemicals offered for CHEMEX. Each chemical will be listed for a period not to exceed 8 months. Information on this page should include:

  1. Chemical name

  2. CASRN

  3. Purity Grade (Lab, Technical, Reagent, HPLC, etc)

  4. Container size and type

  5. Quantity available

  6. Manufacturer

  7. Manufacturer catalog or product number

The web page must be made to allow for DEHS staff to easily add and remove redistribution chemicals from the list.


Submitting a Request for a CHEMEX listed Chemical

Only University of Louisville faculty and staff may request a chemical from CHEMEX. Authorization by the lab PI or supervisor may be required.

Upon e-mail request for a specific chemical, DEHS can deliver the requested chemical. DEHS will only deliver to U of L labs, clinics, and support centers. Lab personnel must be available to receive the chemical. Allow DEHS up to five business days to deliver requested chemical(s) to lab.

Department of Environmental Health And Safety

Main Office

1800 Arthur Street

Louisville, Kentucky 40208


tel (502) 852-6670

fax (502) 852-0880

Department of Environmental Health And Safety

Radiation Safety Office

319 Abraham Flexner Way

Louisville, Kentucky 40202


tel (502) 852-5231

fax (502) 852-8911

Office Hours

M-F 8:00 am to 4:30 pm

No holiday hours

IH Service Account

IBC Service Account